Get Involved and Network!

April 19, 2018

If you bought a product online and it broke during the first use, you’d probably complain a few hours and move on throughout your day. If you visited a restaurant and had a bad experience, you’re likely to tell multiple people and embellish on how horrible the service and food was. Why is this?

People come to a more opinionated conclusion on a service rather than a product due to the experience they go through with a service. The difference between good service and great service can mean a lot with a small amount of effort.

Right about now you might be confused about why the title of this blog is, “Get Involved and Network”. Maybe you’re asking, “What does networking and service experiences have in common?”

I’m glad you asked.

Right out of college I landed a job in Stillwater working as the Communications Coordinator for the Chamber of Commerce. Little did I know, I was about to enter the world of scratch company’s backs and making face with people I didn’t know. A few months into working there, I realized how important it was to know the right people and build professional relationships with anyone and everyone.

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One day, an elderly man came into the chamber and asked if my boss was in her office. Not knowing the man, I told him to have a seat in the lobby and I would go check for him. I went to my boss and said there was a man in the lobby to see her. Did I mention I forgot to ask him his name? Give me a break, I’m still the new guy during this part of the story.

I returned to the lobby and asked him his name. He replied, “Wes Watkins”. Thinking nothing of it, I went back to my boss and told her his name. Right then her face lit up in shock and clarified with a nervous, stunned voice, “like… THE Wes Watkins?!”

About this time I had to Google who he was (still the new guy).

For everyone who doesn’t know, there is a building, school, and many other things named after retired former US Congressmen and US House Representative Watkins. From that moment, I never underestimated who I was meeting through the Chamber of Commerce.

Throughout my career at the chamber, I met countless senators, congressmen, and other business/government leaders. A year later, I found myself in T. Boone Pickens’ Suite at the Boone Pickens Stadium during Bedlam. (yes, it’s ok to be jealous)

How does this tie back into service and experience? Oh yeah! Networking people!

Making personal connections means you are giving a personal experience with services or product that might not always have one. Meeting the right people in the community spreads the word about who you are and the value you bring to the community. I’m not talking about LinkedIn (which is a great tool), I’m talking about one-on-one, in-person networking. If a person has a great experience with you, while you’re representing your company, they are more likely to tell multiple people and embellish on how great you are. It’s like Amazon ratings for your life. Get Involved and Network!

From the desk of Troy Gerard, Career and Life Development Instructor